Grant for new research environment in lifestyle and health

21 December 2017

Karl Michaëlsson is starting up a new research environment in Uppsala.

With funding from the Swedish Research Council, Professor Karl Michaëlsson will begin building a new research environment in ageing and health at Uppsala University. The long-term goal is to contribute to increased knowledge on the link between lifestyle and health.

The Swedish Research Council is awarding a grant in the amount of SEK 19.2 million to Uppsala University to fund the establishment a new research environment in ageing and health. The project, Molecular profiling in Central Swedish Cohorts & Biobank: A path to precision medicine for healthy ageing is being headed by Karl Michaëlsson, Professor of Medical Epistemology at the Department of Surgical Sciences.

“Our goal is to, based on 110,000 participants and biological tests, chart blood markers that signal links between lifestyle habits and poor health,” says Michaëlsson. “By analysing, for example, fatty tissue, blood and faeces and comparing these with the habits reported by the sample providers and registry information on illnesses that occur later in life, we aim to generate knowledge for better lifestyle recommendations and make the biobank content more useful for other researchers.”

The sample collections on which the project will be based were initiated in 1987 in Uppsala and eventually moved to Karolinska Institutet. They will now return to Uppsala University, where the cohorts will be cared for under the direction of Michaëlsson’s research team.

“Earlier this year, we were awarded SEK 55 million from the Swedish Research Council to create and make available a national infrastructure surrounding these cohorts,” says Michaëlsson. “The new grant from the Swedish Research Council now gives us the opportunity to further refine the information in the material, and is thus coming at an extremely opportune time.”

The analysis process will comprise genomics, proteomics, metabolomics and microbiota and will be conducted in collaboration with selected partners at SciLifeLab, Chalmers, Karolinska Institutet and Örebro University. Auspiciously coinciding with the relocation of the infrastructure to Uppsala University, an epidemiological research collaboration, EpiHubben, will also be established at Uppsala University’s Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy and based in the MTC building in Uppsala.

“My hope is that combining forces will enable us to build a long-term foundation for better epidemiological research,” says Michaëlsson. “An initial evaluation of EpiHubben is scheduled for 2020, but we are definitely in a very favourable starting position.”

Find out more about Karl Michaëlsson’s research